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Kapas Marang Swim 6.5km Swim
by Denis Oakley in , , , , , ,

I went to the Doctor Friday morning and downed a load of pills. Then went to bed at lunchtime. Work up for a couple of hours and then slept through to six and woke up feeling good. Then had hot and cold showers and picked up Jens as agreed on the basis that I'd at least go up and spectate.

Got to the Island and felt good (despite a dodgy belly from lunch and swam over to the race briefing. 600m felt really good so after the briefing I swam back on a slightly longer route 1km. I'd pretty much decided by this point that I was going to swim and balanced the longer swim with the psychological benefits of putting the illness, travel, holiday and fatness behind me. That it did and I had a good supper and a couple of beers.

I bumped into Ezer at the start. And never saw him or anyone else again. Not quite true but it felt like it. I waited for a couple of minuytes after the mass start for the water to clear and to get an idea of which way to go. It retrospect the pack split immediately into two groups. A lareg one going to the left and a smaller one to the right with about 45 degrees of difference. I headed with the larger group towards the first marker about a k out. The swim there was pretty easy and I did it in about 26 minutes. That was the last marker I saw. I couldn't see any landmarks that I'd noticed from the beach and so picked a large conical hill and swam towards that. The swell slowly picked up so I was unable to sight regularly and when I did I found that I was heading off at up to 90 degrees from the intended heading. So I swam breast stroke for most of the next hour and was able to sight about every 4th of 5th stroke.

At about the 1 1/2 hour mark a canoeist pointed out an orange balloon that hadn't been mentioned in the briefing. So I headed towards it feeling pretty good as I figured I was well over half way. I figured that I had about 40 minutes left and would probably land in about 2:18. Pretty good feeling :)

I did about another 1/2 hour of breast stroke and then slowly switched over to freestyle as the swell subsided and the sky clouded over (I used the clouds to sight with for 20 - 30 strokes and then a land sight). I stayed in the same spot and slowly drifted down the coast! For over an hour I didn't seem to go anywhere at all and it was a hard slog just keeping going. The 5km sets were a really good basis here because I was able to relate to them and be comnfortable with the way I was feeling.

About 300m from the shore I almost gave up. I was tired, mostly mentally, from the constant effort of believing that I was moving forward and not feeling it. Then I put my head down and pushed. I was starting to feel too uncomfortably warm now and kept up a steady pace pushing for the closest shore that I could reach. I got my feet under me and was immediately knocked over and tumbled by a wave. I was able to stand but it was a stagger up the beach to the finish.

Usually when I come off a swim I'm pretty good at running along the beach and picking up places in T1. Not this time. I almost started crying when I couldn't get my speed suit off my shoulders as I staggered along. Still I got there in the end and killed a can of redbull in 2 paces once I got to the finish. It was blissful. My tongue was swollen and my mouth was crusted with salt. Yuck.

7 cans of 100+, 1 litre of water, 5 oranges and 2 shores later I felt much better. I don't think I've felt so exhausted after so short a time racing. It took me quite a while to gather my wits - probably 15 - 20 minutes before I could have much of a conversation though I was able to have a shower during that time and keep drinking. Physically i was comfortable enough to walk back into Marang 90 minutes later in the mid day sun chatting happily. Pain wise the race wasn't particularly intense - no where near marathon intensities though I did cave continous pain in the neck from the chaffing and in my right bicep - as well as dead arms for a long time :) - well really what did I expect?

Sand to sand - 3:15. Start to finish 3:21

Pleased with the result especially given the number of swims I'd missed leading up to it and the effects of holiday, illness and jetlag.

Lessons learned -

  • speed suit chafes in salt water and glide wasn't effective.
  • 4 gels rather than 2 would have been good for the time that I was in the water.
  • need to improve sighting skills - particularly being able to site from the tops of waves
  • course knowledge - i knew there was current but didn't know enough - there's probably 30 - 50 minutes from that talking to other people after the race.
  • Practice breaststroke as right bicep started cramping
  • Accepting pain signals as a sign that everything is going right was really useful
  • The long 5km swims were great

Jens finished 5th in his category in 1:48 which was great as it paid for the petrol and tolls (and he also made the driving so much easier and gave me lots of tips on how to get to Kona next year).

Ezer finished in 2:50 ish (which was really cool) and I guess Yip finished but I didn't talk to him on the mainland.

My Kuantan fans also finished but again I was too stoned to ask for times.

(Photos courtesy of Jens)


Julie said...

Heyya. Congratulations !! n tq for sharing d tips. Hope to do dis 1 next year. :) happy recovery Denis .

Denis Oakley said...

Thanks Julie

For some reason I have a high intensity swim workout planned for tomorrow :(

This is where I ignore coach :)

Anonymous said...

Good to meet you at the swim. Jo and I found it tough going but are chuffed we made it. Will definitely train more for it next year. I found the swells made me feel really seasick!!

Denis Oakley said...

Hi Suzanne,

Glad that you and Jo enjoyed it. I'll probably see you there next year. Are you going to do any triathlons? Most people find the swimming off putting, but you guys . . . .

The Mitchell's said...

Hi Denis

I think we probably hit the beach about the same time. I was miles to the left and it took me about 15 minutes to walk to the finish line. Sorry I didn't see you at the end, because I too was taking in 100+ by the gallons. Unlike Suzanne, I have not found it in me to want to return, I was scared to death out there for the last 40 minutes or so and when the orange balloon started getting further away not closer after more time had elapsed I made the decision to hit any dry land, one this decision was made it was only about 15 mins more.

Goodluck with your Nepal trip.

Denis Oakley said...

I know the feeling - I almost gave up and waited for the rescue. Then I did the same as you and charged for the beach. Are you on Facebook?

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